Noonan to Keynote 2019 ABI Conference - Monday Memo 11/12/18

November 12, 2018

BIG Conference Speaker Announcement

At last week’s meeting of the ABI Board of Directors, ABI Chair David Bywater (Bankers Advertising/Tru Art, Iowa City) shared a big announcement.  Peggy Noonan, Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for the Wall Street Journal, will be the keynote speaker at the 2019 Taking Care of Business Conference. 

You may know Ms. Noonan from her weekly WSJ column; her nine books on American politics, history and culture; or going way back, as a special assistant and speechwriter for President Ronald Reagan.  She is also a frequent television commentator.  She is just one of the many reasons you do not want to miss ABI’s annual conference, June 4-6, in Ames. By the way, if you are on social media, you have seen that there is already terrific interest in Ms. Noonan’s appearance! 

Mark your calendar for this great event now. Conference registration will open in February. Stay tuned for more exciting news about additional speakers in the weeks to come. 

Not Too Soon to Make 2019 Annual Conference Lodging Reservations

Speaking of the annual conference, it is not too early to make your lodging reservation for the 2019 Taking Care of Business Conference, ABI's 116th annual convention.  That event will be held June 4-6 of next year in Ames. 

The main conference hotel is the beautiful Gateway Hotel and Conference Center.  Find a link to the hotel (and to overflow hotels) here:    

Remember, this conference will involve exciting, brand new venues, such as Jack Trice Stadium and Hilton Coliseum, among others.  As you can see above, fabulous speakers and sessions unlike any seen before are also a part of this terrific event.  You will be able to register for the conference on the ABI website soon.  In the meantime, use the link above to make your lodging reservation now. 

ABI Legislative Briefing, Reception January 16

Mark your calendars now for one of ABI’s most popular, and most important, events of the year.  The annual ABI Legislative Briefing and Reception will be held Wednesday, January 16, 2019 at the Community Choice Credit Union Convention Center in downtown Des Moines.  Over 500 members and state officials attend this event each year.  

Because of your participation, this event draws more Iowa legislators (of both parties) than any similar event hosted by other organizations.  Your local legislators enjoy this event and appreciate the opportunity to visit with you and your fellow Iowa business leaders in a relaxed and informal setting.  As always, all 150 legislators and Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds and Lieutenant Governor Adam Gregg have been invited to join you at the reception.  

Immediately prior to the event, the annual members-only legislative briefing will be held.  This event will provide you with the very latest in legislative news and information about ABI issues.  You can find more information and register NOW by going to  By the way, as always, this event is being held the same day as the January meeting of the ABI Board of Directors.  On behalf of ABI Chair David Bywater (Bankers Advertising/Tru Art, Iowa City), I look forward to seeing you in Des Moines on January 16. 

Remember to Register for December 6 Oskaloosa Events

As you know, ABI will soon host two more events that will bring value to your company.  On the morning of December 6, ABI will host the next in a series of Connecting Statewide Leaders events.  Following that event and lunch with the leadership Iowa class, ABI will then hold a value-building seminar. 

The Leaders forum will feature Debi Durham, the Director of the Iowa Economic Development Authority.  The Director will share news regarding Iowa economic development projects and related matters.  You can register for this event now at  The seminar about building business value will immediately follow lunch.  You can register and find more information here:  Both events will help your business succeed. 

Executive Committee Meets, Will Hold December Teleconference

Members of the ABI Executive Committee met prior to last week’s board meeting.  The committee will convene again for the final teleconference of the year at 9:30 a.m. on December 12.  The December meeting is typically one of the association’s briefest.  As always, look for a full report on all issues at the next meeting of the ABI Board of Directors. 

Advisory Council to Meet Thursday

The ABI Advisory Council will meet Thursday in Des Moines.  This will mark the panel's final business meeting of 2018.  Thank you to ABI Advisory Council members 21st Century Rehab, BCC Advisers, Brick Gentry P.C., BrownWinick, CIRAS, CliftonLarsonAllen, EMC, Far Reach, Focus OneSource, Global Reach, HDH Advisors, LMC Insurance and Risk Management, Principal, Shift Interactive, Tero International, The Iowa Clinic, Wellmark, and Wells Fargo for your leadership and support! 

ABI Holds Last Board Meeting of Calendar Year

Last week in Des Moines, members of the ABI Board of Directors met for the final board meeting of 2018.  Terrific attendance and great discussion marked the day.  A review of the Iowa General Election, annual audit presentation, and board member’s business updates were highlights of the day.  Thank you to board members and former board chairs for your participation in a great meeting.  On behalf of ABI Chair David Bywater (Bankers Advertising/Tru Art, Iowa City), thank you for helping the final 2018 board meeting go so well. 

Business Record Iowa Receiving High Marks

You should be receiving the monthly edition of ABI's flagship publication, Business Record Iowa later this week.  Published in conjunction with member Business Publications Corporation, BRIowa took the place of our quarterly publication, magazine.  

The Vermeer/Andringa Family and Vermeer Corporation’s recovery from the tornado that struck the company earlier this year is the focus of the cover article in this month’s edition.  Featured on the cover are family members of this longtime ABI member and iconic Iowa company: Bob Vermeer, former ABI Chair Mary Andringa, Jason Andringa, and ABI Board Member Mindi Vanden Bosch.  All are executives with this well-known global family company based in Pella.  By the way, you'll also find great content about ABI programs and activities.  

When it comes to BRIowa, members are telling us they really like the greatly increased publishing schedule (from 4 times each year to 12) and the content.  Those comments are nice to hear.  Just as important is anything we can do to make the new journal even better and more useful to you.  Please contact me with any comments or suggestions. 

Hyland to ATRA Conference

ABI Director, Public Policy Jessica Hyland left early this morning for San Diego.  Jessica is representing ABI at the annual conference of the American Tort Reform Association.  ATRA is a coalition of business and legal organizations collectively focused on reforming the civil justice system.  It has proven to be a great resource for ABI and we look forward to the information Jessica will be bringing back with her. 

Staff Promotions/Title Changes/New Roles Announced

ABI is today issuing a press release outlining changes regarding the association’s staff.  Brad Hartkopf is being promoted from Coordinator, Public Policy to Director, Public Policy.  David Hildahl has a new title.  Formerly Communications Coordinator, he is now Communications Manager.  Kay Neumann-Thomas, as you know, is now working a new role related to alumni engagement at the ABI Foundation.  Read more here:  Congratulations all around! 

NAM Economic Report Cites Manufacturing Growth in Jobs and Wages

If you are like me, you were confused by candidates who talked about wage stagnation in the run-up to last week’s general election.  The data proves that is simply wrong… wages are rising.  That fact was just one documented in last week’s Monday Economic Report published by the National Association of Manufacturers.  

Last week’s report had interesting information about the growth being experienced in the manufacturing economy and in the wages that are a part of that economy.  If you wish to see the report, simply reply to this memo and I will get it to you at once. 

Jason Gross, Mary Andringa, Tom McMahon Celebrate

ABI Board Member Jason Gross (EMC Insurance, Des Moines) recently celebrated his birthday. Other ABI leaders are also celebrating birthdays this month.  ABI Past Chair Mary Andringa (Vermeer Corporation, Pella) and former ABI Board Member and former ABI Foundation Chair Tom McMahon (Barker Company, Keosauqua) share birthdays.  ABI sends best birthday wishes to Mary, Tom, and Jason!